In an emergency public health order, New Mexico Department of Health Acting Secretary Dr. David Scrase directed that all individuals ages 2 years and older shall wear a face mask in all indoor public settings except for when eating and drinking. Any business, establishment or non-profit which members of the public regularly visit must report when there is an occurrence of COVID to the New Mexico Environment Department as well as adhere to the pertinent COVID-Safe Practices. Both public and private education institutions, K-12 and home schools serving children who are not household members shall adhere to the face covering and other COVID-Safe Practices requirements for in-person instruction.
This extension, lasting for at least another month, comes as coronavirus variants continue to infect people around the country.
A worker wearing a protective mask and gloves disinfects tables at Pecos River Cafe in Carlsbad, New Mexico, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
On Friday, the state broke its record for most COVID-19 cases in a day, according to KOB4.
The department reported 4,246 new cases, with a seven-day positivity rate of 23.3%.
While many of the recent positive cases linked to the omicron variant have appeared to be milder infections without hospitalizations, New Mexico’s hospitals continue to operate under standards of care that prioritize immediate medical emergencies.
Additionally, top health officials have warned against labeling the variant “mild.”
Hospital officials there, however, have acknowledged that the majority of patients are being treated for issues unrelated to the virus and that a staffing shortage is a big part of the strain on the facilities.
State data showed there were 539 people hospitalized Friday for a COVID infection, which is fewer than during previous peaks.
Scrase said Wednesday that health authorities expect the omicron variant to peak within two to four weeks
“If omicron is as narrow a peak as we’re hoping it is, that could be four to six weeks. And if we can get to the other side of it, that would be good,” he said at a briefing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.